• Superpowers of Ten
    Andrés Jaque
    Columbia Books on Architecture and the City, 2019
    Office for Political Innovation:
    Andrés Jaque

Andrés Jaque/Office for Political Innovation, Superpowers of Ten. Photo: Jorge López Conde.

Powers of Ten, a film made by the Office of Charles and Ray Eames in 1977, presents an exploration of daily life at different scales—from atoms to the outer edges of the Milky Way. It was beautifully produced, yet the selective framing of the film, which centers on a couple having a picnic on Chicago's lakefront, involves abrupt jumps in scale and the interaction between genes, bodies, and technologies as linear and frictionless. Superpowers of Ten reconstructs the film's historical, political and conceptual frame to incorporate the conflicts, activisms, and scientific disputes left out its framing. Racial exclusion operated by Kodak's "Shirley Card," the intended elimination of virus attacks and gen mutations in the movie, or the avoidance of the lively gender debates of the 1970s are reintroduced to reconstruct the linear narrative as a complex political one, complicated by alternative architectural strategies that render design relevant in the reconstruction and re-politicizing process.

Andrés Jaque holds a PhD from the Superior Technical School of Architecture of Madrid (ETSAM), and teaches at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation, and Princeton University’s School of Architecture, where is currently a visiting professor. His work explores the intersection of science, politics, and architectural design. He has received the 10th Frederick Kiesler Prize for the Arts and Architecture (2016), the Silver Lion at the 14th Venice Biennale (2014), and the Dionisio Hernández Gil Award. His work IKEA Disobedients is the first architectural performance ever included in the Museum of Modern Art's collection, and is part of a series of works developed at the intersection of performance and critical practices, meant to interrogate architecture's political dimension. Other works in the series include Phantom: Mies as Rendered Society, Sales Oddity, and Pornified Homes. Jaque’s books include Phantom: Mies as Rendered Society, Different Kinds of Water Pouring into a Swimming Pool, Dulces Arenas Cotidianas, and Everyday Politics.